Friday, November 19, 2010


Darrell James

A few weeks ago, Jimmy Kimmel—on Jimmy Kimmel Live, national television— proclaimed November 17th as NATIONAL UN-FRIEND DAY (NUD) His cause: "to put and end to the foolishness of social networking.” The subsequent campaign that he mounted would have rivaled that of any modern day political incumbent, rallying the support of celebrities and garnering widespread support across university campuses.

Together, on one glorious day, with surgical precision, the aim was to set about, cutting loose all the people, who in a weak and delirious moment of un-sobriety, we so casually and carelessly Friended on Facebook. Stomp out the OMGs, the LOLs. Rid ourselves of Farmville and Mafia War requests (which, well, kind of makes his point.)…

Still, the man was serious (or sort of), because that’s the kind of guy he is. He even went so far as to have War create a music video to underscore his message.

Now, I know that Jimmy has a lot of things to juggle, what with the joke telling and all. So I’m sure that it was a simple oversight on his behalf that he selected November 17th, my BIRTHDAY, as his day of social reckoning. (BTW, Jimmy: I’m still waiting for the card.)

So, as the NUD campaign gained momentum, I began to wonder…

How will it effect my Big Day? Will I wake up on my birthday, expecting well wishes from friends and family, only to find that I am suddenly alone in the cyber universe, adrift, without having a clue who baked brownies today or whose cat is now wearing shoes made of Dixie Cups. OMG, LOL!

As the days ticked down toward, and past, the Ides of November, I began to sweat.

I did I tell you!

For Jimmy had masterfully manipulated the power of the media. And support for NUD had reached viral frenzy…

When the big day finally arrived, I awoke early, grabbed a cup of coffee, and fired up Facebook.

To my joy and wondrous surprise (something like Christmas) not only had I NOT lost any of my Facebook Friends, but there were two welcome requests for Friendship waiting. And, the birthday wishes had already begun rolling in.

Now, it’s my custom (call it my creed) that if someone writes me a personal message on Facebook, I always respond with a personal reply. Well, the birthday wishes kept coming, and so did a few more requests for Friendship (that I happily accepted). Family, writer friends, reader friends, and those who I have found or have found me through the marvel of modern technology. They poured in from across the country, from Canada, from Italy, from Germany, and as far away as Queensland Australia. And before the day was over I had responded to more than 140 birthday greetings. All Friends.

I tuned in to Jimmy Live that evening (which BTW: isn’t really ‘live” at all….just sayin’). He was still claiming victory, even showing a tote board to display the grand tally of Unfriended.

Well, perhaps, somewhere in the distant cyberspace, there are those souls who have been banished to “Un-Friend Land”. My heart goes out to them. To you, huddled masses, misfortunates of cyber-warfare, I say: “Come over to my Facebook page. There’s always room for one more, or two more, or however many more of you there might be…Come! (At least until I hit my 5000 friend limit.)

As for you Mr. Jimmy (the Kimmel, who doesn’t even have a Facebook page) when your heart finally thaws and you find yourself alone on your cyber iceberg, with only a few discarded Farmville and Mafia War friends to drink with, take out a page. Send me a request. I’ll welcome you in. Because… well… because that’s the kind of guy I am… I got Friends!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, Facebook Buddies!


Cafe Noir said...

Hey Darrell, Kimmell doesn't even have Sarah Silverman as a friend anymore. Maybe you can get her to be your friend. You can never have too many friends. And you know what Oscar Wilde said about friendship: "A true friend stabs you in the front." Take care, buddy. -- Paul

Vicki Doudera said...

What! you can only have 5000 friends? that's sooooooooooooooooooo lame.

Lois Winston said...

Sorry, Darrell, but I'm with Jimmy on this. As far as I'm concerned, Facebook has become the Evil Empire. Not a day goes by that I don't read some Facebook horror story posted by friends or fellow writers on the various loops I belong to. I want nothing to do with Facebook. I don't trust them.

Beth Groundwater said...

Hi Darrell, and happy belated birthday in another setting from Facebook! Per you encouragement in response to my BD message on Facebook, I'm really going to try to make a case for going to Bouchercon as well as LCC and Malice next year. Yikes!

Anyway, I've been gradually whittling down FB friends myself--those who I really have no connection with, like romance or horror authors I don't know personally who are close to hitting their 5000 friend limit. I figure they won't miss me. And, I want to leave plenty of room for mystery readers and writers to be able to befriend me on FB. I don't believe in fan pages and like to make that more personal "friend" connection. Lois, if you treat FB like the front page of the newspaper and don't put anything personal there, it's okay.

Darrell James said...

Paul. Good advice from you and Mr. Wilde. Thanks.

Vicki, if you're real sneaky, you can have more.

Beth, if you need some help with persuasion, I'll send a few of our writer friends over to your house :)

Lois- I am suspicious of the things that Facebook does without us knowing. ButI've actually made some great "real" friends on Facebook.

Alan Orloff said...


Cats wearing Dixie cups? OMG! 2 prcs! I knew Facebook was good for something.

GBPool said...

Who is Jimmy Kimmell? Anybody who wants to get rid of friends mustn't have any. You will always be on the top of my list, Darrell.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Happy belated birthday!

I've had pretty good experiences on FB. I have disabled Farmville, etc., though.

Darrell James said...

Gayle- Same here! Thanks.

Kathleen- I've been haing fun with this. But I really don't have time for Farmville or any of the other apps. What I like is connecting with people who I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. How great is that?!

Darrell James said...

We don't have network television working for us, but what if we declare Jimmy's birthday next year as "National Unwatch Day"?

Dee Ann said...

Emmy-winner Jimmy Kimmel is the host and executive producer of ABC's late night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

I have a daughter-in-law who works on that show.

Frankly, I think MySpace is what's the pits anymore. Those who bought it from Tom have ruined it. I was talked into Facebook by my sister and her daughters, so I'm there. However, it's too time consuming AND after the initial brouhaha my family members stopped posting. I rarely look at it anymore, so, I apologize to Darrell for not wishing him HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Dee Ann Palmer